US using tariffs as weapon, punishment against Russia
Washington looks to add more pressure on Russia.
The United States has been using tariffs as a weapon and punishment against Russia, according to Katherine Tai, a trade representative who spoke to Congress today, Wednesday.
"Tariffs are like 2x4s. They can be used for lots of different purposes. With respect to Russia, these tariffs are punishment. We are using these 2x4s as a kind of a weapon," Tai told a US Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
"We are continuing to engage in the administration through our conversations also with other partners and allies to look at how we can use these new authority to impose additional consequences on imports from Russia," Tai said.
The US raised tariffs on 75% of Russian imports
After the suspension of normal trade ties with Russia, the US increased tariff rates on more than 75% of Russian imports, revealed Tai.
"As a result of the bill that Congress passed and that the president signed into law earlier this spring, the United States has with respect to trade suspended permanent normal trade relations with Russia. And that means we've imposed non-MFN [most favored nation] tariffs on imports from Russia. That action alone has increased tariff rates on over 75% of US imports from Russia," she said.
The US wants to take apart the Russian economy
Washington seeks to take apart the Russian economy, or in its own words, its "supply chain".
In April, the Deputy Treasury Secretary, Wally Adeyemo, announced that Washington wants to dismantle Russia's "war machine" by disrupting its defense industry and supply chain.
"The next phase of our work will be to take apart Russia’s ‘war machine’ piece by piece by disrupting their military-industrial complex and its supply chain," Adeyemo said in a virtual discussion organized by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
However, this isn't so new.
In earlier April, US President Joe Biden said the United States and its allies will continue to ratchet up economic costs on the country and further isolate it.
He also claimed that the sanctions imposed on Russia have wiped away Russia's economic development over the last 15 years.
"Our sanctions are lucky to wipe out the last 15 years of Russia's economic gains and because we have cut Russia off from importing technologies like semiconductors and encryption security and critical components of quantum technology that they need to compete in the 21st century. We are going to stifle Russia's ability as an economy to grow for years to come," Biden said in an address to North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Legislative Conference.